I’ve spent a lot of time training and racing with Jake, so I can say from first-hand experience that he’s an extremely valuable signing for Fanatic. He’s still only 18 years old but has already scored some very solid results, including big wins at home in Australia and countless podiums in the U.S. and Europe.
Jake was previously paddling for Naish, but considering that race team is stacked with so much young talent (Kai Lenny, Kody Kerbox and Casper Steinfath just to name a few), Jake probably felt he could find more opportunity elsewhere.
The Fanatic sponsorship is also a good fit because it puts Jake on the same team as his sparring partner, Paul Jackon. Jake and Jacko train together at one of the meccas of Stand Up Paddling, the small town of Currumbin on Australia’s Gold Coast, so it makes sense for them to be on the same team. The duo will also give Fanatic priceless feedback about board design across all conditions, with Currumbin offering everything from flat-water training to BOP-style conditions to some awesome downwind runs.
The signing also solidifies Fanatic’s position as one of the “Big Three” SUP racing brands, alongside Starboard and Naish. There are plenty of board makers that sponsor exceptional paddlers (404, BIC, Surftech, SIC, Rogue, etc) but it’s those three brands that seem to have invested the most and whose race teams run the deepest.
Look out for Team Fanatic at the 2013 Battle of the Paddle Relay Race. Jake was part of the winning Naish team last year, giving his squad an unbelievably fast start and putting them in a winning position from lap one. So when you throw the young kid in among the likes of Paul Jackson, Chase Kosterlitz and Angie Jackson, suddenly the red boards will be right up there with the yellow paint of Naish and the brushed carbon of Starboard.